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Arab-backed development fund to tackle global food insecurity with $10 bln package

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The Arab Coordination Group, the second-largest development fund in the world, launched an initial $10 billion package to tackle global food insecurity, the Group announced in a statement on Tuesday.

The $10 billion will be provided as a first step for immediate relief from the global food security crisis which has worsened tremendously since the onset of the war in Ukraine, leading to a worsening hunger crisis in many countries.

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The relief package was announced at a meeting of the ACG Heads of Institutions in Vienna, Austria on Tuesday.

Arab Coordination Group hosts Heads of Institution Meeting in Vienna, Austria on June 21, 2022 to tackle global food insecurity. (Supplied)
Arab Coordination Group hosts Heads of Institution Meeting in Vienna, Austria on June 21, 2022 to tackle global food insecurity. (Supplied)

Speaking at the meeting, OPEC Fund Director-General Dr. Abdulhamid al-Khalifa said the initiative was launched to initiate “quick, decisive, and forceful action,” to mitigate the crisis.

“Millions of people are facing hunger today, and this is something we simply must address urgently. As a dedicated ACG member the OPEC Fund fully stands by this commitment,” he added.

The amount of a minimum $10 billion represents the total of the ACG members’ commitments. Among those, the OPEC Fund already announced a US$1 billion “Food Security Action Plan” to be deployed over the next three years as immediate assistance to cover the import costs of basic commodities such as seeds, grains and fertilizers, while supporting medium and long-term security of food supply in partner countries.

The ACG commended other international financial institutions as well as Saudi Arabia’s role in leading the drive for immediate support to countries most affected by the global food crisis in the developing world.

Addressing the climate crisis, the Group also agreed to provide financing to mitigate the impact of climate change and strengthen climate resilience.

The Group will launch a detailed action plan at the next UN Climate Conference COP27 in November in Egypt. The initiative will include a collective financial commitment and a roadmap to accelerate energy transition, increase climate resilience and promote energy security.

The ACG comprises 10 national, regional and international institutions, including the Abu Dhabi Fund for Development, the Arab Bank for Economic Development in Africa, the Arab Fund for Economic and Social Development, the Arab Gulf Programme for Development, the Arab Monetary Fund, the Islamic Development Bank (IsDB), the Kuwait Fund for Arab Economic Development, the OPEC Fund for International Development, the Qatar Fund for Development and the Saudi Fund for Development.

Ukraine, often referred to as the world’s breadbasket, was invaded by Russia on February 24 in what Moscow calls a “special military operation.”

Since then, countries across the world have imposed tough sanctions on Russia as the conflict rages on, heavily disrupting the Ukrainian economy and restricting global trade.

Trade has been hit particularly hard since the war because Russia and Ukraine account for nearly a third of global wheat supplies. Russia is also a key fertilizer exporter and Ukraine a major supplier of corn and sunflower oil.

In 2021, conflict – in combination with economic shocks – affected around 139 million people worldwide and since the onset of the Ukraine war, this figure is likely to increase, a recent report released by the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organization and the World Food Program revealed.

According to the report released last week, acute food insecurity is expected to worsen in several countries between June and September this year, indicating that the hunger crisis is affecting many countries and it is happening at such a rapid pace.

The WFP estimates that between 179 million and 181 million people will be in crisis or worse when it comes to food security, a staggering increase from the 139 million already affected in 2021, which accounted for an increase of 40 million people since 2020.

Read more:

What can be done to mitigate the food security crisis? FAO economist weighs in

Food security was ‘deteriorating’ before Ukraine war, but has worsened since: Expert

UN launches $3.2 billion plan for crisis-hit Lebanon to support families, refugees

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